As the State Fair of Texas opening day Sept. 30 draws near, Fair food lovers start dreaming about all those new fried creations they simply must try this year. Interspersed, of course, with traditional favorites, like Fletcher’s Corny Dogs, Belgian Waffles, turkey legs, and funnel cake.
All those tantalizing aromas mingling in the air easily convince us that calories consumed at the State Fair of Texas don’t count. After all, we surely walk them off while searching for the next big thing. Eating your way around the fairgrounds can be the perfect progressive meal…one that starts at brunch and goes through dinner.
Best Taste Savory
Here are a few can’t miss stops to put on your State Fair menu this year, starting with the three Big Tex Choice Awards winners. The Fried Charcuterie Board, created by Tami Nevins Mayes and her daughter, Josey Mayes, who came up with the idea to fry a charcuterie board, was named Best Taste Savory. With mozzarella, salami, and green apples in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Italian herbs, the combo is wrapped in wonton, fried, topped with goat cheese and drizzled with hot honey. It’s not only tasty but portable, always an asset for Fair foods.
New concessionaires Chris Easter and Nicole Sternes won Best Taste Sweet for their Peanut Butter Paradise. It starts with injecting a deep-fried honey bun with caramel, topped with peanut butter, layered with Reese’s Pieces, Butterfinger crumbles, peanut butter cups, drizzled caramel and powdered sugar. For peanut butter fans, this sure sounds like paradise.
Cha-Cha Chata by the Garza family is a milkshake with vanilla ice cream and the family’s secret horchata recipe, poured into a cup rimmed with caramel and cinnamon, topped with whipped cream, dusted with crushed candy, cinnamon galletas de gragega, and deep fried arroz con leche bites. All sipped through a churro straw, and again, easily portable.
Fletcher’s Original Corny Dogs
Like most fried food-loving Fairgoers, my husband and I always head first to the Fletcher’s Original Corny Dog stand in Big Tex Circle. It’s the place to snap selfies with Big Tex and get our first Corny Dog of the season. Fletcher’s is celebrating their 80th anniversary this year by giving away 80 Corny Dogs to the first 80 customers at their seven corny dog booths every Friday, starting opening day Sept. 30. We’re told our best chance to grab a free corny dog is to head for a less busy Fletcher’s stand, shown on the map.
Another favorite fried food stand, Baconation, has some new Texas treats to try this year. Bacon Apple Pie Egg Roll features cinnamon sugar apple filling, crispy bacon bits, deep fried in an egg roll wrap, topped with caramel sauce, whipped cream and powdered sugar. Bacon “Hot Chik” and Cool Chik” Nachos are also new. Bacon, lettuce, tomato and chicken tender bites topped with hot cheese and choice of ranch or sriracha sauce, flaming hot or regular Cheetos, and topped with jalapenos are also new.
Bacon Burrito Dog: Two hot dogs in a flour tortilla with bacon, cheese and chili is also new. And a former Big Tex Choice Award finalist, Sweet Bakin’ Bacon, is back to satisfy the sweetest tooth. Cream filled sponge cake wrapped in bacon dipped in funnel cake batter, deep fried and topped with whipped cream and powdered sugar. Best of all, Baconation’s booth is located in the air-conditioned Tower Bldg. Food Court.
State Fair Food Court
The Food Court is the ideal place to meet friends, grab space at one of the tables, and share a wide variety of food. Booths selling everything from Frito pie and nachos to cinnamon rolls are scattered throughout the Food Court. I can’t resist the It’s Greek to Me booth, and Pedro’s Tamales is a great place to buy homemade tamales to take home with us.
Another stop for take home goodies is the Go Texan pavilion, where I like to buy made-in-Texas items like honey and salsa. Unlike most vendors, the Go Texan store takes cash or credit cards, and that’s good news for those of us who’ve run out of coupons.
The State Fair of Texas runs Sept. 30-Oct. 23 this year. For more information, including day-by-day list of events and attractions, visit bigtex.com.